With the top seven separated by less than a rail following cross country at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, we knew today’s show jumping finale at Tryon would be an absolute nail-biter.
When Ros Canter and Allstar B jumped clear as the penultimate pair to go, she clinched team gold for Great Britain and guaranteed herself at least an individual silver medal. When cross country leaders Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD had the last fence down, Ros became the new World Champion on 24.6, the second lowest winning score in history according to EquiRatings.
Ros rode Allstar B on the gold medal team at the European Championships last year to win her first senior team medal. Today Ros added another team gold and her first individual medal to the tally, and she was also the only rider on the British team to deliver a clear show jumping round.
“I tried not to watch the last few. I knew what was going on, but I pretended I didn’t know what was going on. I don’t think it’s hit home yet. It was quite a shock when it first happened. It’s just absolutely incredible — not just for me but the whole sport and team behind me and Team GB,” Ros said.
“I was fortunate enough to sit on a horse like Allstar B, where as long as I can get it right, he’ll just keep going higher and higher for me.”
Padraig McCarthy and Mr Chunky jumped clear to rise from seventh after cross country and clinch silver on 27.2 — the first individual medal for Ireland since 1978. Ireland added just one rail to their team score today to win team silver. Considering the Irish last won a team medal at a World Championships in 1966, you can imagine there was quite a lot of celebrating.
“I have experience jumping at bigger competitions, and he’s a great jumper. In a previous life I was a show jumper. The horse was jumping brilliant, so I didn’t go in with any pressure since I wasn’t in medal position,” Padraig said.
“I’ve dreamt about a medal for the last six months. With a horse like this, you have to dream big. If you think you can’t do it, you don’t do it. It’s been on my mind since the beginning with him.”
Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD won individual gold at the Strzegom Europeans last year, and her bid to win back-to-back individual gold medals ended at the last fence, but she still took individual bronze for Germany on 27.3.
“If someone would have told me I’d come here before and win individual bronze, I would have been very happy,” Ingrid said. “At the last rail, I was disappointed, but it was our only mistake.”
We saw a 24% clear jumping rate today, with 16 pairs delivering clears over Alan Wade’s course.
Great Britain won team gold on 88.8, which EquiRatings confirmed is the the lowest finishing score for a team in the history of the World Championships. Ireland took silver on 93.0. The French added two rails to their team score to win bronze on 99.8.
Japan finished fourth on 113.9, their best ever team finish at a World Championships. As the Japanese automatically receive qualification for the 2020 Olympics as the host nation, the berth for Tokyo qualification widened to the top seven teams at WEG.
Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand all qualified for Tokyo today. The U.S. finished eighth and will now need to qualify for Tokyo at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Even after yesterday’s cross country did not go to plan, the U.S. was still in the hunt for Tokyo qualification going into show jumping. But rails ultimately tumbled for the team, with only Phillip Dutton and Z producing a clear round to finish 13th on a final score of 34.0.
“Z didn’t get the best ride from me, so I’m a bit embarrassed about that, but he helped me out. It was a really strong track — you had to keep thinking and stay focused all the way around,” Phillip said.
“I think he’s the best horse I’ve ever had. We’ve got to work on his fitness a little bit more — it’s not that natural for him to gallop for 10 or 11 minutes. But I think like marathon runners, over time he’ll get better and better. He loves it, and there hasn’t been a day since I’ve had him that he hasn’t improved. He’s got a great work ethic.”
Will Coleman and Tight Lines added three rails to finish 66th on 99.2. “He got pretty tense in the warmup, and I just never really was able to just keep him settled in there,” Will said. “He kind of lost his shape a little bit, and I just couldn’t quite keep him off the rails.”
Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg also added three rails to finish 56th on 70.7. “He just felt a bit overwhelmed (by the atmosphere). It’s a bit of a shame actually; he’s been training very well and the lead-up events were good, but he’s very difficult through the combinations. We just did the best we could and rode our hearts out, and it’s disappointing to have the rails down.”
After Boyd added three rails, Lynn Symansky and Donner could have one rail down and still secure Olympic qualification for the U.S. Unfortunately, Lynn ultimately had three rails down to drop from ninth after cross country to finish 25th on 40.3.
“It was very disappointing. I rode the horse I had today, and I felt he was just a little bit flat and unsettled, and he tried his heart out for me still. This isn’t our easiest phase. … He’s a little bit quieter and easier the day after cross country than two days after,” Lynn said.
“I don’t think you get a lot of opportunities like this, so I’m pretty upset, but I am so fortunate to be here on an amazing horse. I just am really bummed that I let my team down and myself and my horse.”
The Canadian team finished 11th and will also look to qualify for Tokyo at the Pan American Games. Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High added 3.0 time penalties to finish 27th on 41.7 as the highest placed Canadian pair.
“I had the exact same mindset that I had at Fair Hill: that I could jump these clear, I’ve done it before,” Selena said. “I tried my best, I went inside after one, and I galloped where I could. There was one of two verticals where I really had to take a chance and sit him on his butt because those are our nemesis, and it paid off.”
Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me had two down to finish 40th on 50.6. “Eventing is always a work in progress. You always tweak something, and it helps here and then it’s not so great in another place. He is brilliant at cross country; now we’ve just got to tweak the other two phases a bit.”
Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue d’Argouges had four rails down to finish 47th on 60.4. “I’m really disappointed in myself. I didn’t ride him well at all. He’s such a good jumper and I just lost my rhythm; I didn’t ride him forward.”
Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo had five down to finish 50th on 63.5. “Everything is a learning experience. She handled the dressage 100 times better than I thought she would. On cross country she didn’t put a foot wrong; she was amazing. And then in show jumping I just need to practice. That’s her hardest phase. She’s brave and bold, and she just needs to get a little more rideable and get a better shape over the jumps. We’ll get it.”
Four pairs in the competition finished on their dressage score, including Ros Canter and Padraig McCarthy. Australia’s Andew Hoy and Vassily de Lassos finished fourth on their dressage score of 29.8. Ireland was the only country to have two riders finish on their dressage score, as Sam Watson and Horseware Ardagh Highlight also delivered a clutch clear for the team to finish 14th on 35.5.
We’ll have comments from the U.S. and Canadian teams and lots of other riders in our quotes report, which is coming your way next. But first, we have to give an extra special shoutout to Mexico’s Daniela Mougel, who had three down today with Cecelia — a horse she found through a sales ad right here on EN! — to finish in 44th place on 57.9.
As for what it feels like to complete the World Championships: “It’s like a dream come true, it really is,” Daniela said. “It’s been my dream since I was a little kid, and it finally is happening.”